Now that Irishman Johnny McKinstry is gone, the search for a new national team coach continues but the million-dollar question is: what type of coach should it be, a foreigner or a Rwandan.
A section of Rwandans say a local coach would do a better job, but do we have such coaches that will bring the glory that we all crave for. For example someone qualified and experienced enough to perform at the highest level?
It’s true the likes of Vincent Mashami, Andre Cassa Mbungo, Eric Nshimiyimana, Jean Baptiste Kayiranga or Gilbert ‘Yaoundé’ Kanyankore t among others, are good coaches by our local standards but the problem is the football quality and approach to the game, particularly on the international level.
I will not be against it if the appointing authority believes a local is the best option since they know the players very well but I would suggest that, the first priority should be to put the football house in order before we think of who is good for Amavubi and who’s not.
A local coach is good; we need them but then let us first of all believe in them. The other concern is that, we should give them that required confidence, trust and support on top of the motivational benefits: wages and allowances offered to foreign coaches then later the argument can shift to positive results.
Coaching contributes to the performance on the pitch, but as always success comes more with quality of players, as much as I can remember, only two coaches have given us what we can call success.
McKinstry was the first man to guide Rwanda to the quarter-finals of a major competition (CHAN 2016), and before him, Ratomir Dujković took Amavubi to the 2004 African Cup of Nations finals tournament in Tunisia, ironically at the expense of Ghana.
Amavubi players are average at best; apart from one or two that we can rely on or point a finger and say such a player will take us places—unfortunately, football is a team sport, which means we need to rely on the whole team and not one or two individuals.
I am a good fan of the English Premier League and La Liga, yet the reason we don’t have any Rwanda player featuring in any top leagues in Europe is obvious—the quality of their performance is still too low.
The other issue is our persistent failure to manage talent, the lack of proper grassroots development programme and a youth league where our players would be starting their careers before being taken up by the top clubs.
Honestly, if you asked me, I would point the finger of blame to the local football governing body, FERWAFA, who claim to have the vision for running football in country yet that, seems not to be the case?
FERWAFA’s approach to the game is still flat and they should take the blame for Amavubi’s poor performances and not coaches.
Amavubi can succeed under anybody, whether foreign or indigenous, but first we need to look inwards because the issue is beyond nationality of the coach.
A friend of my recently said, Amavubi needs to have a foreign coach because we don’t trust our local coaches.
He may be right, given his contention.
The local clubs are still struggling to make any impression in both the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup. Rarely have we seen any of the local coaches being hired to coach any foreign national team or club, which implies they still have a long way to go.
Unless when changes are initiated, starting from bottom at the grassroots, hiring a foreign or local will continue to be a debate, as we head back to square one once again. The best place to start with is our football management.